The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Wife and child lost for a call on the cell
- Trip from Puja fatal for family

Krishnagar, Oct. 13: Sailen Biswas, a customs officer, lost his wife and son to the curse of the cellphone during a trip back from a relative's on the last day of Durga Puja.

His motorcycle swerved as he tried to answer a call and a bus crushed under its wheels his 27-year-old wife Ila and five-year-old son Sahil. Still unconscious, Biswas is fighting for life in hospital.

Police said the officer posted at Kharagpur in West Midnapore was returning to Ila's uncle's house in Krishnagar, Nadia, after attending the festivities at a relative's place in nearby Tehatta, about 160 km from Calcutta.

The bus hit them on the Karimpur-Krishnagar road in Nadia's Chapra, about 140 km from the city.

In June, a train fatally injured make-up artist Prabir De, who was caught up in a cellphone conversation, in south Calcutta. Three weeks later, a lorry crushed Manoj Kumar Sonkar, 28, who was also engrossed in a conversation. His body was found in a corner of Jatindra Mohan Avenue in north Calcutta, yards from his motorcycle and mobile phone.

A police officer said Biswas had the phone in his shirt pocket when the call came. Ila, a railway employee at Fairlie Place, was riding pillion with their son on her lap.

'Sailenbabu was riding the motorcycle with one hand while trying to bring out the mobile phone from his pocket and taking a right turn at the same time,' said Pintu Sinha, the officer-in-charge of Chapra police station, who had spoken to several witnesses to the accident. 'He was so engrossed on his mobile that he did not notice the speeding bus coming from the opposite direction. The driver honked several times, but Biswas heard nothing. It was too late when he saw the bus finally. The motorcycle ran into the bus.'

Ila and Sahil went under the wheels of the bus. Biswas fell on the roadside. He has been admitted to the Shaktinagar district hospital.

When Ila and her husband did not return last night, her uncle Swapan Nundy launched a search. He located Biswas in the hospital this morning. 'I had repeatedly told them not to travel on the motorcycle and take a bus instead. Sailen did not listen to me,' he said.

The police have seized the bus. Its driver gave the slip.

At Bankura More in Durgapur, 200 km from Calcutta, a mother-son duo was killed while pandal hopping. Renu Devi, 25, also had her one-and-a-half-year-old son Ankit Prasad on her lap while riding pillion on her husband Upendra's motorcycle. A minibus hit them.

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